United States Maritime Administration [MARAD] Law and Legal Definition

The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation. It primarily deals with waterborne transportation. In order to meet national emergency situations, MARAD maintains the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF). NDRF is a ready source of ships for use during national emergencies. MARAD also assists the NDRF in fulfilling its role as the nation's fourth arm of defense in cases of emergencies.

MARAD administers financial programs to develop, promote, and operate the U.S. Maritime Service and the U.S. Merchant Marine. It also determines services and routes necessary to develop and maintain American foreign commerce and requirements of ships necessary to provide adequate service on such routes. MARAD conducts scientific research for the development of activities in the maritime field. Additionally, it works in shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. The health and safety of mariners is also its responsibility. It educates current and future mariners. Regulating the transfer of U.S. documented vessels to foreign registries, maintaining vessels/equipment, shipyard facilities, and reserve fleets of government ships essential for national defense all come under the responsibility of the MARAD.